Hi, I’m Jamie Dean, author of the upcoming book Not Just Passing Through, here to share some thoughts on books with you.
Recently, an interviewer asked me what I felt was a really intriguing question, which was: What book had I read that I wished I’d written and why did it have such an impact on me? And as I pondered it, I found my answer changed halfway through giving it. The book I’d thought I was going to talk about was not the book that ended up becoming my answer. But that first book I thought of, that book still moves me and I would still like to talk about why, so I thought, why not do a list of books that have moved me profoundly?
So that is exactly what I’m here to do. Here, in no order, are some books that have stuck with me, for one reason or another, for a long time. I’ve read most of them more than once, and will probably read them again.
Tick Tock by Dean Koontz – This was the book I almost gave as my answer. How do I even describe it? Koontz writes in the horror/thriller genre, and there are certainly horrific elements to this story, but I don’t see this as a horror story at all. I’ve read Tick Tock numerous times and I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about it that speaks to me. It’s funny as hell—darkly funny, as many of Koontz’s books are, but it’s also somehow slapstick and ridiculous—yet it still has a richness to it. In the beginning, I always feel like I am in that car with Tommy. On that dark road, terrified and alone. And then we meet Del. She’s amazing. Koontz writes the most amazing female characters. They’re always a little bit twisted. A little bit broken. Usually funny. And Tough. As. Hell. What gets me most about this book, though, is not the humor, but instead it’s that little thread of hope that winds underneath all the darkness.
Imajica by Clive Barker – This was the answer I gave, but I feel this book bears mentioning again. It’s got explorations of sexuality, gender, humanity… Just read it. Come to think of it, I need to read it again.
The Further Inquiry by Ken Kesey – Kesey is of course most famous for writing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, another book that moved me. He was also the leader of the Merry Pranksters—if you don’t know what that is, Google yourself some 60s counterculture, kids. I came across Kesey in a rather roundabout way myself because I learned about his friends first, via an autobiography, then saw a documentary, then finally read his books—which I then fell in love with. He was friends with Neil Cassidy, famously the inspiration for Dean Moriarty in On The Road by Jack Kerouac. And Neil Cassidy was not necessarily always doing the right thing. What Kesey did with this book, though, was he examined Cassidy’s life and his deeds, as though he were being put on trial to determine whether he was going to Heaven or Hell. I won’t spoil the ending, but I felt like it was brilliant and perfect—and completely fitting of what I know of Neil Cassidy.
The Stand by Stephen King (I didn’t intend for this to be some sort of infomercial for writers with K’s in their last names, but here we are) – Another horror writer, which I seem to have a thing for, but this was the book that made me realize King isn’t a horror writer at all. He writes in that genre, certainly, and people hail him as king of scary things, but to me that’s not what his writing is about at all. Stephen King’s work is so frightening because his characters are so damned real. His protagonists are rarely perfect little darlings wrapped in pretty packages. They’re messed up, beaten down, often homely, rarely fans of authority, generally cynical, and I love them so much it hurts.
So, now you know some books that have moved me. What are some books that have moved you? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Let’s talk about it in the comments!
Socially awkward, closeted virgin Avery Malcolm passes his days and nights running his bigoted aunt’s motel in rural New Mexico. He dreams of getting away and hitting the road, but with one friend, a few acquaintances, and no real life to speak of outside his duties as front desk clerk, he doesn’t know if he’ll ever get a chance.
Fate sends hot drifter Chase Lancaster to the Red Ram Motel, riding in on his sexy black motorcycle. Within twenty-four hours, Avery’s life is turned upside down. Before long, even though Chase’s sexual interests seem to run exclusively toward women in bars, Avery finds himself falling for the beautiful biker with no permanent address. Chase is much more than his bad boy persona, so while it’s nice to have another friend, Avery doesn’t know how he’ll survive with his heart intact when Chase inevitably moves on.
Jamie Dean is passionate about food, beer, and hot men wading together through a sea of angst, sarcasm and sexy times.
When he is not reading or writing gay erotic fiction from his front porch swing, he might be painting, playing with his dogs and cats, or cooking experimental meals for (or drinking beer with) Jay, his husband and muse. He loves old cars, science fiction, road trips, and spending time with family and friends.
He came to terms with his sexuality only later in life, so that struggle is a frequent theme in his work. He has since embraced it with pride and considers himself an LGBT* activist, a feminist, and a champion for equal rights.
Buy link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7665